URI Vs URL: Most Important Differences You Must Know

URI Vs URL: Most Important Differences You Must Know
URI Vs URL: Most Important Differences You Must Know


The internet has a wealth of information, ranging from web pages to images to weather forecasts and electronic documents. It’s critical to be able to identify and retrieve these various resources. Therefore, web addresses that incorporate the domain name and other relevant details to construct a complete address were curated. These specifics direct a browser to a particular web page. These include the URI Vs URL.

First, let’s understand the meaning of these two terms (Uri vs Url) and their structure individually, and then discuss the differences between the two.

What is the URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is the specific address of a given unique resource on the web. Browsers use the URL to retrieve any published resource or resource name on the web. If the resource is a web-based resource, the URL will begin with HTTP/HTTPS. If the resource is a file, it starts with FTP, and if the resource is an email address, it begins with MAILTO. You can type the URL in your browser’s address bar to instruct it to load the associated resource page.

Syntax of a URL

Here is an example of a URL. Let’s try to understand its basic structure:

1, https (Protocol): The first part of the URL indicates the protocol that the browser must use to make a resource request. A protocol is a series of instructions for transmitting or sharing data over a computer network. HTTPS or HTTP is the most popular protocol for websites.

2. www.codingninjas.com (Domain name): This next part is separated from the protocol by the character pattern ://. Domain name indicates the web server being requested. In simpler terms, it is the name of the web page or website you want to access.

3. /codestudio/interview-experiences (Path to Resource): This is the path to the resource on the Web server. It indicates that the website page in question is “filed” in a specific folder on the webserver. For instance, “code studio” is the particular folder you want to access on the Coding Ninjas website.

Further, the “interview-experiences” indicates the name of the web page file you are on at the moment. The web page file name can end with an extension “.htm” if it is a static web page or a different extension based on the webserver, no extension at all, or end with a slash line (/).

 What is URI?

URI stands for Uniform Resource Identifier. A URI is a string of characters that identifies a web resource by using its location, name, or both. It enables the resources to be identified consistently. A URI may also be classified as a locator, name, or both, implying that it can be used to identify a URL, URN, or both. Regardless of the technique used, the word identifier in the URI refers to the prominence of the web resources.

Syntax of a URI

Let’s dissect the syntax of a URI: scheme:[//authority]path[?query][#fragment]

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1. Scheme: A string of characters, the scheme is a non-empty component with a colon after it (:). HTTP, HTTPS, MAILTO, file, FTP are well-known examples of schemes. These schemes should be registered with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

2. Authority: It is an optional field and can consist of a host subcomponent containing either the IP address or domain name, or port or user info.

3. Path: hows the exact path to the resource through a sequence of segments.

4. Query: Represents the query string of non-hierarchical data; is optional and preceded by a question mark (?).

5. Fragment: This is an additional unique identifier that directs a secondary resource preceding a hash (#).

In any identifier, only scheme and path must appear.

Venn Diagram of URI and URL

Image Source: Coding Ninjas

The above diagram represents the relationship between URI and URL, wherein the latter is the subset of the former. In other words, all URLs are URIs, but not all URIs are URLs. The URI helps identify you, while the URL helps identify your address and locate you.

Confusion about URN

URIs can be classified as locators (URL) or as names (URN), or both. Uniform resource name (URN) defines a resource’s identity. It is a persistent, location-independent unique identifier. An ISBN number, such as ‘ISBN: 026201210’ is a URN (and a URI): although it is an identifier, it does not tell you how you can find it. It is the http://codingninjas.com URL that provides the network location.

Why URL?

The reasons why URLs are significant are as follows:

  • Any resource on a computer network can be found using URLs. URLs, rather than IP addresses, made the internet so popular and accessible as they are easy to remember and make sense of.
  • With only one mouse click, you can move from one web page to another, thanks to the information written in the URL.
  • Your web browser sends a request to a webserver to download one or more files whenever you type a URL into your browser or click any hypertext link.
  • URL design is one way to enhance user experience because they are so widely used.
  • URLs are widely printed on business cards, posters, banners, and emails, among other marketing materials.
  • URLs have a significant impact on how well the website/web pages ranks in an Internet search.

The structure of a URL is important to determine its efficient use. To learn more about how to create catchy URLs for your work, please visit our blog site.

Why URI?

Here are the reasons why URIs are essential:

  • URIs are at the core of the internet; we use them both consciously and unconsciously every time we take advantage of the vast array of options available on the internet.
  • URI is crucial to the semantic web as its uniform format helps prevent ambiguity.
  • URIs provide a standard way for computers to access resources through a network or across the internet.
  • They are used to find and download files through software programs such as Web browsers and P2P file-sharing programs.
  • New file types can be specified using URI without affecting existing files.
  • It’s commonly used to define resources and binaries in XML and tag library files like JSTL and XSLT.

To learn more about XML and related concepts, feel free to visit the Coding Ninja’s blog site.

URI vs URL: The Comparison

Basis of DifferenceURIURL
Stands ForUniform Resource IdentifierUniform Resource Locator
MeaningIt enables us to identify a resource. Thus, URIs are identifiersIt enables us to identify and locate a resource. Thus, URLs are locators
DifferentiatorURIs can be used to identify and differentiate HTML, XML, and other files from each otherURLs can only be used to identify and locate web pages
PurposeIts primary goal is to define a resource and distinguish it from others by using either location, name, or both to do soIts main objective is to obtain a resource’s address or location
Syntax differencesIn URI, the scheme can be anything from protocol to designation and specificationIn URL, scheme is usually a protocol such as https, HTTP, FTP among others
ProtocolThere is no protocol information in the URIThe protocol information is given in the URL

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a URI example?

Here is an example 1 of a URI with all its components:

What is a URI URL?

URIs are identifiers, which can be in the form of a name, a location, or both. While all URNs and URLs are logically URIs, the reverse is not valid. The combination of a name and a method of access, such as https:// or mailto:, is what makes something a URL.

What is HTTP called in a URL?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is the most common protocol used in a URL and indicates how your web browser should communicate with a web server when sending or fetching a web page or document.

What is the difference between URL and HTTP?

URL is the web address of the online resource you want to access, while HTTP is the standard ‘language’ used to communicate between web browsers and website servers. It is the protocol that enables transferring and retrieving of data from one location to another.

What is www called in a URL?

WWW stands for World Wide Web. It is a prefix used in a URL to identify the particular web address as a website. It also indicates that the website is using the HTTP protocol to communicate with the servers. With millions of resources accessible on the internet, it’s critical to know how to identify and locate individual resources.

What does URI stand for?

A URI, or Uniform Resource Identifier, is a string of characters that identifies a web resource in the World Wide Web by its location, name, or both.


In this URI vs URL debate, knowing the differences between these terms can be crucial to understanding a key concept behind locating anything on a device, a network, or on the world wide web. The major difference between URI Vs URL is that URIs are identifiers and URLs are locators.

A URI, in other words, simply identifies a resource. URL helps to locate the resource on the web. Another significant distinction is that URIs can be used to distinguish HTML, XML, and other files from one another. URLs, on the other hand, are only useful for locating and identifying web pages.

To learn more about such significant and intriguing basics of web development, feel free to visit our Blog site.